Entrance to Brandeis University in Waltham Massachusetts — Stock Photo, Image  Brandeis University: A private, co-ed university with an acceptance rate of 30% charges students big bucks to attend:

  • Tuition: $59,408
  • Mandated Activity Fee: $598
  • Room/Basic Double: $9,380
  • Board/12 meals + 850 points/semester: $7,070
  • TOTAL: $76,457

Add-ons include, on average, $500 for books every semester and some $750 for personal expenses and travel, a $385 entering semester fee, and a health insurance premium o

All multiplied by four four years…

And for those megabucks, students are encouraged NOT to use language “that can be used to perpetrate and perpetuate oppression,” and offers up a list of “more-neutral” suggestions developed by students involved with the Prevention, Advocacy, and Resource Center (PARC).

According to the university, “Use of the suggested alternatives is not a university expectation, requirement, or reflection of policy.” Well, maybe not, but the guide is getting quite a bit of traction and making headlines, anyway.

What follows are a few of the suggestions from each of the guide’s five categories

CATEGORY ONE: Violent Language

  • Replace killing it with great job, awesome.
  • Replace Take a stab at it with Try.

CATEGORY TWO: Identity-Based Language

  • Replace you guys and ladies and gentlemen with y’all, folks, friends, or people.
  • Replace freshman with first year student.
  • Replace crazy, insane, and wild with uncool or disappointing.
  • Replace gypped with get ripped off.
  • Instead of he and she, they or ask for their preference.
  • Replace African American with Black.

CATEGORY THREE: Language that Doesn’t Say What It Means

  • Replace committed suicide, completed suicide, failed or successful suicide with died by suicide, killed himself, suicided.
  • Replace non-consensual sex with rape.
  • Replace female-bodied with cisgender women, men.
  • Replace male-bodied with assigned female/male at birth.

CATEGORY FOUR: Culturally Appropriate Language

  • Replace tribe with friends, group, pals.
  • Replace powwow with meeting, party, gathering.
  • Replace spirit animal with favorite animal, animal I would most like to be.

CATEGORY FIVE: Person-First Language

  • Replace victim, survivor with person who has experience…; person who has been impacted by…
  • Replace disabled person with person with a disability.
  • Replace wheelchair-bound with person who uses a wheelchair.
  • Replace mentally ill with person living with a mental health condition.
  • Replace addict with person with a substance disorder.
  • Replace homeless person with person experiencing housing insecurity.

And Brandeis has lots of company in the we’re inclusive, name change game, with Disney one of the more recent additions. Upon visiting one of their parks, instead of the greeting, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,” visitors will hear “Good evening, dreamers of all ages.”

Just so much semantics or timely, well-advised suggestions for all of us to follow?

Many thanks, Carol